Portrait of Germaine de Staël

Quotes by Germaine de Staël

1766 – 1817

Madame Germaine de Staël (née Necker) (1766-1817) was the daughter of the last Controller-General of France before the Revolution and was famous for her novels, social analysis, and history writing.


She played an active role in French politics during the 1790s until she ran afoul of Napoleon. Her salon at the family estate on Lake Geneva, “Coppet”, was a center for liberal opposition to Napoleon and included Benjamin Constant. She wrote one of the first histories of the French Revolution, defending the principles of 1789 and limited constitutional government.

See the Liberty Matters online discussion on How to Combat Fanaticism and the Spirit of Party: Germaine de Staël’s Lesson

de Staël featured as the April 2021 OLL Birthday. Read it here


Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Madame de Staël argues that Napoleon was able to create a tyrannical government by pandering to men’s interests, corrupting public opinion, and waging constant war (1817)

Germaine de Staël

Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Madame de Staël on the tyrant Napoleon (1818)

Germaine de Staël

Politics & Liberty

Germaine de Staël on the indestructible love of liberty (1818)

Germaine de Staël


Madame de Staël on how liberty is ancient and despotism is modern (1818)

Germaine de Staël